LPS students win big at national speech and debate

Students from Lincoln Public Schools won numerous honors recently at the National Speech & Debate Association’s annual tournament, which was held virtually June 15-19.

Lincoln East Debate

Senior Ritsa Giannakas made it to the final round in Student Senate and finished eighth. She’s the first student from Nebraska to make it to this round in this event in more than 30 years. 

Juniors Josh Lee and Kai Waddell finished 10th in Public Forum. This means they’re automatically qualified for next year's tournament, as well as the prestigious Tournament of Champions.

Junior Abby Chan advanced to the quarterfinals in Student Congress. She earned the most first-place votes in her quarterfinals' house and finished in the top 15 percent in a field of more than 470 students.

East finished eighth in the country as a team and earned a School of Excellence award.  

Lincoln Southwest Speech and Debate

Southwest was named a 2020 National Speech & Debate School of Honor for finishing as one of the top 40 debate teams in a field of more than 1,400. This is the third team award that Southwest has earned, after earning School of Excellence awards in 2006 for debate and 2013 for speech.

Junior Anna Synya was a semifinalist in Congress, finishing in the Top 50.

Seniors Sam Spethman and Mitchell Anderson made it to round nine of Public Forum, finishing as a top 75 team.

Senior Zoey Moser advanced to octafinals (top 60) of Program Oral Interp and the quarterfinals (Top 30) of both Prose and Poetry.

Senior Janana Khattak advanced to quarterfinals (Top 30) of Expository Speaking.

Junior Aubrey Aldag advanced to quarterfinals (Top 30) of Poetry.

Senior Tyler Bartolome made it to octafinals (Top 60) of Extemp Commentary.

Senior Reagan Cisar represented Southwest in the Senior Open and finished fourth in Dramatic Interpretation. 

Lincoln Southeast Debate

Junior Jennifer Quach was a quarterfinalist in Student Congress.

Coach Recognition

Tommy Bender (Southeast), Toni Heimes (Southwest) and Matt Heimes (Southwest) all received their fourth Diamond Award.

John Holen (East) received his first Diamond Award. 

(Diamond Awards reflect excellence and longevity in coaching.) 

Victoria Freeman (Lincoln High) earned a District Retention Award.

Toni Heimes (Southwest) earned a Bronze District Chair Award.

Published: July 2, 2020, Updated: July 2, 2020

East High senior Ritsa Giannakas competes in the final round of Student Senate debate.